At least two dozen state Democratic parties have renamed 'Jefferson-Jackson' events

Once a staple of Democratic Party politics, the annual “Jefferson-Jackson” dinners put on by state party organizations are being renamed across the country.

Of the states that have ever held these events — typically marquee fundraisers that can be critical in primary election campaigns — at least 24 have changed their names since the 1980’s, citing concerns including the two American presidents’ ownership of slaves.

This year, the home states of both presidents the dinners are named for have joined this number.

On March 3, the Democratic Party of Virginia, birthplace of President Thomas Jefferson, announced that it would rename its event as the Blue Commonwealth Gala. Meanwhile in Tennessee, home state of President Andrew Jackson, Democratic party officials said they will change the name of their dinner from the Three Star Jackson Day Dinner to the Three Star Dinner.

State parties have increasingly moved to distance themselves from the legacies of Jefferson and Jackson, both of whom were slaveholders. Jackson also pushed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 through Congress, paving the way for the forced relocation of southeastern Indian tribes known as the “Trail of Tears.” Those efforts gained momentum following the Charleston Church shooting in 2015, in which nine black worshippers at Emanuel AME church were killed by an admitted white supremacist.

In a statement to NBC, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party Mary Mancini said the new name reflected the party’s “shared belief that every Tennessean, no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you live, should have the opportunity for a better life for themselves and their families.”

Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a press release that the future of the state would be painted in “broad, blue strokes” and that the renamed event would celebrate “our party’s dedication to expanding opportunity for all Virginians.”

Here’s the full list of states where the Democratic Party has changed the name of an annual dinner once called a “Jefferson-Jackson” event, listed by the year the change was made.

  • 2018 – Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia
  • 2017— Colorado, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia
  • 2016 – Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire
  • 2015 – Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Texas
  • 2014 – Florida
  • 2012 – Wyoming
  • 2002 – South Dakota
  • 1990’s- Idaho
  • 1980’s - Arizona
  • Unknown – Nebraska, Utah, Wisconsin

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